Posted 11/19/2011 1:17 PM (GMT -6)
Hi Beagleman and others too!
I've been working through my own stuff this week. And your post came to mind beagleman. Forgive me for the length of this, but when I am still processing new truths, I tend to be longwinded. :0) I am hoping some of what I am learning might be helpful to you and it helps me too if I can put some things into words. Again, sorry it's so long!
Everyone here wants to see you feeling better. And it is really good that you are reaching out here. Way to go!
You know the thing about depression is that it has its own religion, if you will. It sees the negative, believes the negative, speaks the negative and tries to make us think that it is what we (its host) believe. But depression is a condition. It's not who we are. We are only overcome by it if we give in to it an dbelieve its thoughts to be our own. They're not, so we shouldn't agree with them.
At the same time, I'm realizing that trying to force those thoughts into compliance and remove them doesn't work for me. But what does work is to resist them by sowing MY thoughts alongside those negative ones. I I do that, my true thoughts (positive ones) become louder than those negative depressive ones.
I think of it like the depression is an intruder and the mind is an impressionable child. If I remain passive, it will listen to the voice of the depression and be shaped by that, but if I speak up and sow positive thoughts my mind has something else to listen to. So even if the negative thoughts don't leave, they become a lot quieter and weaker in the presence of the positive thoughts I'm choosing to think and speak. It is work. It is a choice. It is ongoing. But countering the lies with truth will bring about a change in who you are.
When I read your posts I hear you say that you have all these negative thoughts but you know what you 'should' think, and you just can't believe it. So, like I just shared, I am wondering if, instead of owning those depressed thoughts as your own, you can come alongside yourself and state something that you know is true when you get those negative lies coming about being a loser etc. And they are lies.
God doesn't make losers, and as long as we want to heal and do good, we are not losers in this world! To quote Start Smally (ever watch that movie?): "You're good enough; you're smart enough and doggin it, people like you!" People here like you, so why not affirm that to yourself? :)
The more we state the negative thoughts we feel, the more deeply engrained they become. But that is where if you can continue to identify those thoughts as depression talking and not the truth you can put distance between yourself and the negative things you have believed . If the truth is hard to find, maybe you can imagine what a loving Creator would say about you in those times? The One who created you would not be telling yourself the negative things you are agreeing with.
This is in no way to make you feel lousy. All of us fall into agreeing with the negative thoughts at times. But just to say, even if you can't make those thoughts to away altogether, you can create a counter stream of positive thoughts about yourself. And truth is stronger than lies, light is stronger than darkness, so fight back. Get mad at those lies, and sow into the stream of light and truth about yourself. YOU ARE WORTH THE EFFORT!!! :0)
You have lots of good qualities. Eg. You are able to identify what you are feeling. You are articulate. You WANT to build a life you will enjoy. A lot of people just give up and feed addiction rather than facing reality. Not you. Many people aren't even in touch with how they feel. But you are and that shows sensitivity, and by the way, that in itself is something that women will appreciate about you.
So remember, those negative thoughts are 1. not yours - they are intruders and you should resist them as you would an enemy 2. not true - they are just lies.
Lies work by taking a little bit of truth and then framing it in a way that works to the advantage of negativity. It's a twisted version of reality.
Even if the negative thoughts 'feel' or seems true, we need to remember the mind is just being fooled into believing depression, and we need to help it believe the truth...it takes time to 'feel' the truth, but it is not impossible with some ongoing work and management of our thought lives.
eg. People here have suggested looking at your time with your parents in a new light - why not give it a try? That's just one example where the depression has framed your experience in a negative light and tried to attack your identity. But depression is a liar. Why woudl you want to agree with a liar? Liars, of which depression is one, don't deserve our time and attention.
Even so, so what if you lived with your parents for a less noble reason, like fear, or something else. So what. Don't we all have weaknesses? Show yourself compassion. And you know, as you CHOOSE to try to see a positive and loving interpretation of your life, I believe the truth will begin to give you a new perspective and your eyes will be opened in a new way. I believe that is how life is - if we reach for the truth, the truth will reach back to us.
eg. I used to see my life as wasted and stolen over many things, but as I grieved that out and kept believing there was a good plan that I just wasn't seeing, it began to unfold in my understanding. Eg. I dropped out of university and wasn't able to go back to finish. I was in a piano performance program. I was plagued with thoughts years later of how stupid that was, how I threw away an amazing career chance etc. But over time I began to see how the culture of that university scene was snobbery and how I would have been trapped like a hamster in a cage always trying to perform and earn more letters behind my name sort of thing. Blech! I'm grateful I didn't get stuck in that lifestyle, especially as I am very prone to being driven and performance based so my perspective. So dropping out of university wasn't so bad after all...I now see things very differently. You can too. (I am now teaching piano lessons to kids, and I love it. Without a university degree. And not as a teacher that would have just raised up performing prototypes, as previously I was taught to do.)
Okay, so where was I? :0) ... Even if the depression doesn't let you 'feel' the good thoughts you choose, as you choose them, you will gradually build your positive thinking muscles so it becomes easier over time. That also will be a quality that will draw positive relationships around you. And like I said above, as you align your thoughts with positive ones, you'll also begin to see more positive in return.
Self image...We all know that you are a decent and wonderful person. And even if you don't outrightly believe it, my guess is that part of you must know it's true or you wouldn't be investing the time in yourself trying to get help, right? Find that part of your heart that knows the truth about who you are - the truth that a loving Creator would tell you, and affirm it. It will help.
Having said all that...Sometimes we can barely look in the direction of a positive thought...I've been there. So I don't mean any of this to be another burden on your shoulders. Just chew on it and do what you can (if you think it's good), and don't be hard on yourself if it's not attainable.
So yeah, just saying all this as an encouragement to you that those negative thoughts are the depression talking and depression is a condition, it is not who you are. So keep resisting the religion of depression. Even if it doesn't leave, you don't have to be its follower. Create yourself some happy thoughts instead.
It IS possible to become your own best friend, rather than your worst enemy. It just takes time, commitment, work, and grace. Baby steps. Don't ever give up.
...maybe this is a bit what cognitive behavioural therapy is about. I just consider it 'agreeing with the truth' and knowing that I and my life are not defined by what the depressive thoughts/lies.
wishing you a good day today,